Cleveland Cavaliers miss Kyrie Irving, shoot under 40 percent in loss to Nets


Jan 4, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) shoots a free throw during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center. Brooklyn Nets won 89-82. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Deron Williams scored 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting to pace the Brooklyn Nets to an 89-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs, playing for the second consecutive game with Kyrie Irving, were limited to 36.7 percent shooting and scored only 17 points in the fourth quarter, when the game was on the line. Dion Waiters led the Cavs with 26 points. C.J. Miles had 19, but made only 6 of 19 shots.

The first half was mostly ugly for the Cavs. Reggie Evans, who had not scored more than five points in a game all season, scored eight in the first quarter by taking advantage of passive interior defense. The Cavs settled for too many jumpers against a Nets defense playing without bigs Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett, played at the slow pace favored by the veteran Nets and found themselves down 22-17 after one quarter.

The Cavs stayed close for a while in the second quarter by hitting threes, five in all for the quarter, including three by Matthew Dellavedova. They were down 35-31 with six minutes to go in the quarter, but the Nets went on a 13-3 run highlighted by uncontested layups by Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, and two by Shaun Livingston. The Nets ended the half with threes by Williams and Jason Terry to take a 51-38 lead into the locker room.

The Cavs came out in the second half with more energy, with Earl Clark and Miles scoring five points each in a 10-3 run to cut the lead to 54-48. That was followed by a three-minute scoreless drought, but they stayed close, as the Nets missed nine of their first 10 shots in the quarter. The drought was broken by two free throws from Tristan Thompson, then the Cavs went on a 10-2 run, keyed by threes by Waiters, Miles, and Dellavedova, to take a 61-58 lead with 1:51 to go. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter before Mirza Teletovis sank a three to give the Nets a 67-65 lead at the end of the quarter.

The fourth quarter started out with the same choppy rhythm that the first quarter had, which worked to the advantage of the Nets, who built a nine-point lead by holding the Cavs to two points in the first five minutes of the quarter. At that point the Cavs went to a small lineup featuring Miles, Jack, Waiters, and Dellavedova, but they continued to miss shots, getting no closer than six until the last minute, when a loose ball foul and a technical foul on Waiters allowed the Nets to restore the lead to nine at 83-74 with 1:51 to go. Dellavedova forced Reggie Evans into a loose ball foul and made one free throw. The Cavs had a chance to make a run after a Nets miss, but Miles missed a jumper with 1:28 to go, which effectively killed the last chance the Cavs had. A jumper by Deron Williams with 27 seconds to go, after the Cavs had allowed the Nets to milk 23 seconds off the shot clock, ended any suspense that remained.

The Cavs kept it close by making 10 of 22 three pointers and outrebounding the Nets 45-33. In the end, the poor shooting and defensive breakdowns of the first half were too much to overcome.